Marina van Zuylen
Academic Program Affiliation(s): First-Year Seminar, Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures, French Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Literature
Academic Expertise: French Studies
Area of Specialization: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century French, Russian, German comparative literature
Biography:Marina van Zuylen is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Bard College. She was educated in France before receiving a BA in Russian literature and a PhD in comparative literature at Harvard University. She is the author of Difficulty as an Aesthetic Principle, Monomania, and The Plenitude of Distraction. She has published in praise of some of the most beleaguered maladies of modernity—boredom, fatigue, idleness, mediocrity—and written about snobbery, dissociative disorders, and obsessive compulsive aesthetics. She has published extensively on the work of Jacques Rancière and has written about art and aesthetics for MoMA and other art-related venues. She has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and the university of Paris VII. She is the national academic director of the Clemente Course in the Humanities (clemente.bard.edu), a free college course for underserved adults, and accepted on its behalf a National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2014. She is presently writing Good Enough, a book about the unsung virtues of classical and modern mediocrity. AB, MA, PhD, Harvard University. At Bard since 1997.
- Research Interests: History of the novel, representation of private life, philosophies of temporality; currently writing about neutrality and disengagement in recent criticism; idleness and the work ethic in Franco-American cultural history; history of marriage in the nineteenth century; representation of suffering in psychiatric literature
- Teaching Interests: Comparative literature, First-Year Seminar, French literature, and intellectual history; philosophical approaches to the novel; Baudelaire and nineteenth-century aesthetics; German Romanticism; French women writers
- Other Interests: Animal Rights; history of boredom; modernist aesthetics; asceticism in art and literature; art in the nineteenth-century novel